Ivory Coast were much the better side today in Abidjan against Senegal in the first leg of the World Cup playoff, and were 2-0 up after 14 minutes and 3-0 up after 49 minutes, and while they were much the better side and could have had more goals, it was Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse who scored a good opportunist goal five minutes into injury time, to give his country some hope in the second leg in Casablanca next month.
Ivory Coast before the game with Tiote front and center
Ivory Coast got a goal after only four minutes and Gervinho was tripped by Cheikhou Kouyate in the box, and the referee had no choice but to point to the penalty spot, and it was a terrible tackle by the Senegal defender.
That man Didier Drogba made no mistake, and sent Coundoul the wrong way to put the home side 1-0 up – but poor defending from Senegal.
And then after 14 minutes Ivory Coast were two up as Liverpool’s Salomon Kalou came out of defense and gave the impressive Gervinho the ball on the left wing, and the former Arsenal man cut inside and had the ball in the back of the net, as it deflected off a Senegal defender.
Gervinho was proving too much for Senegal on the left wing, and Senegal tried to raise their game to get back into the match, but the Ivorians were the better side in the first half and led 2-0.
Cheick Tiote had a solid first half but Papiss Cisse was getting no support up front for Senegal.
Five minutes into the second half and Ivory Coast were 3-0 up, and it was a quick counter attack that caught Senegal short at the back, and it was Gervinho again, this time putting a beautiful ball through to former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou, who took his chance well as he slid the ball past the goalkeeper, and it was now always going to be difficult for Senegal.
Senegal tried to attack more but couldn’t get that vital goal, but then a full five minutes into injury time Papiss Cisse scored an instinctive goal, as he smashed the loose ball into the back of the net from about eight yards out.
Papiss really delivers for his country and that’s his 15th goals in 28 appearances for Senegal, and that goal could be a vital for Senegal, and the match finished 3-1 but Ivory Coast were much the better side today.
The second leg is in Casablanca next month.
Alan Pardew and Newcastle fans will be happy to see Papiss back on the goal trail, and he’s the third Newcastle player to score for his country over the last day, with both Cabaye and Debuchy scoring for France last night.
Maybe that means we are going to hammer Liverpool at home next Saturday?
Ivory Coast: Barry, Boka, Bamba, Aurier, Zokora, Tiote, Die, Toure, Gervinho, Drogba, Kalou (Sio 50).
Subs: Gbohouo, Viera, Toure, Romaric, Allegne, Bony, Gosso, Angoua, Gradel, Traore, Keita.
Goals: Drogba (pen) 5, Gervinho 14, Kalou 49
Senegal: Coundoul, Ludovic Sane, Kouyate, Gassama, Souare, Diame, Gueye, N’Diaye (Mane 45), Cisse, Sow, N’Doye.
Subs: Ndiaye, Mison Djilobodji, Mbodji, Saivet, Cissokho, Ibra, Badji, Sougou, Salif Sane, M’Bengue, Ndoye.